Columnist: We cannot accept mass shootings as the new normal

“Just another day in the United States of America, another day of gunfire, panic and fear,” the Los Angeles Times is reporting.

“That’s how the BBC chose to open its coverage of Wednesday’s mass shooting in San Bernardino. And while the tone was certainly questionable, the accuracy was not.

“The real shock and horror was the near universal lack of shock and horror.

“In its place was something far more dangerous than terrorists or highly armed psychopaths, more fundamentally terrifying than butchery or bombs: Numbed acceptance, bordering on disassociation.

“Democracy can survive violence, invasion and even fear, but it cannot survive malaise.

“The shooting at the Inland Regional Center was called the deadliest since the 2012 killings at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., but even as the number reported of dead climbed into the teens and the wounded flooded hospitals, the reporting, though thorough, was strangely subdued.

“News outlets, including this one, flooded the area with a frightening efficiency born of repetition. Gone was the stutter-step of disbelief, the voice-choked sorrow, the barely concealed rage that marked coverage of Columbine, Virginia Tech, Newtown and Aurora. Gone was the first stage of denial or cautious diminishment, the hope that the harm done would not, could not, be as great as feared.

“Phrases like, ‘In what has become an increasingly commonplace scene’ and ‘In yet another mass tragedy’ opened news reports on virtually every medium. The tones of news anchors varied from personality to personality, but the terrifyingly rote nature of the script everyone followed did not.

“Presidential candidates dutifully took to Twitter and Facebook to make the same statements they uttered during the last mass shooting — the Democrats called for stricter gun control, the Republicans offered prayers and praised law enforcement officials.

“Infusing it all was a sense of reluctant acceptance, even helplessness. Every time a gunman mows down a group of random people, we begin a conversation about guns that invariably devolves into an red state/blue state feud about the 2nd Amendment, laced with bitter complaints about the power of the NRA.

“Here’s the thing about the NRA: Far fewer Americans belong to it than do not. So if everyone who opposes the ironclad grip it purportedly has on Congress, if they would stop tweeting and start organizing, voting, boycotting and protesting — exercising all the amazing freedoms this still astonishing democracy allows — that great and powerful NRA might just shrivel to a couple of men pulling levers behind a curtain.

“As many have noted, the 2nd Amendment was passed long before the invention of automatic weapons, which is the target of most gun control legislation. Very few Americans support the criminalization of handguns or rifles, just the weapons built for the sole purpose of killing a lot of people in a small amount of time with minimal effort.

“The 2nd Amendment is also part of the Constitution, which was written to protect this young democracy and (eventually, with a few additional amendments) all its citizens.

“Not its guns, its citizens.”

The rest of the article is here.

About jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website SierraCulture.com. Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for years, was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News, and was Editor of The Union, a 145-year-old newspaper in Grass Valley. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing and trout fishing.
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22 Responses to Columnist: We cannot accept mass shootings as the new normal

  1. Chip Wilder says:

    Following Wednesday afternoon’s mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, which left at least 14 people dead, numerous lawmakers tweeted their “thoughts and prayers” to the victims of the gruesome tragedy. But many of the same congresspeople who were quick to publicly register their feelings about the 352nd mass shooting this year, received thousands of dollars from the National Rifle Association and voted against sensible gun reforms like expanding background checks to more gun purchases. Among those cowards – The NRA dumped $922K into Mitch McConnell’s re-elect bid, so when it comes to preventing gun violence all u get is this tweet “thoughts and prayers”
    God can’t fix this! These rubes think that they belong to a gun club with their NRA stickers on their back window. They just give money to the gun manufacturers who laugh all the way to the bloody offshore bank.

    • rfd177 says:

      God isn’t supposed to ‘fix this’. What many of the countless articles highlighting the hypocritical ‘christian right’ politicians or rhetorical anti-religious sentiment concerning God or prayer failed to point out is that ‘faith without works is dead’. Many people of belief know that just praying does little without our own actions. Martin Luther King prayed the nights before, and on the bus to, marches for Civil Rights.

  2. jeffpelline says:

    NRA recipients is here: http://www.nracongress.com/all-nra-recipients.html You can find LaMalfa and McClintock on the list. Go Doug! Go Tom!

  3. Ben Emery says:

    The two major reasons for the final draft and approval of the 2nd amendment were the fact the US had no standing army or budget to fund one. The question wasn’t “If” but rather “when” the British will be back for round two. The other reason was slave state militia patrols were needed to keep the property(slaves) in order.

    Neither of these fit into modern United States. The US has the largest military empire the world has ever seen and chattel slavery has been outlawed but we have exported wage slavery to undeveloped nations. I truly believe an ongoing national televised public debate among scholars sponsored by the US federal government is needed. What we have going on today is the NRA less than 60 year old interpretation of the 2nd amendment being touted as the correct interpretation. Also a huge chunk of the population that ignore that the second amendment exists and want laws to ban weapons. Both are wrong.

  4. Chip Wilder says:

    The Republicans — and their National Rifle Association backers — have successfully blocked the bipartisan bill, which would allow the attorney general to bar sales of firearms and explosives to those on the no-fly list, since a version was first introduced in 2007. Facts is facts, Cowards are what they are-

  5. Ben Emery says:

    Chip,
    The only argument I can see being successful is flying is not in the Bill of Rights where having the right to bear arms is. The 2nd amendment is extremely flawed for various reasons. It was also hotly contested and debated during the Constitutional Convention.

    • Chip Wilder says:

      Ben,
      I have to again be reminded of what Michael Moore said that we have only ourselves to blame for re electing these same worthless politicians (as Jeff reminds us about Logue and McClintock) that have NEVER put forth substantive legislation about ANYTHING worth while. Along with a headline grabbing tea bagger who gets on a plane “forgetting” about his pistol, cowards all. They’re all “boots on the ground” hawks, but when it comes to the hard stuff those hawks all are wingtip wearing sissy’s. When they break out the 2nd anymore, I quit listening to the gunned up group- your right, they make no sense of it.

  6. Ben Emery says:

    I agree McClintock, Logue, and LaMalfa are basically empty suits for the people of this district. The fact is the Republican Party has gone 100% into the pockets of big business and spend tens of millions annually testing ways to manipulate average people to believe up is down. Then we have the Democratic Party who uses much better rhetoric but in the end both parties key objective is to win the next election cycle. This major problem is why hot button social issues and some larger issues such as gun control are rarely resolved because they are needed to get out voters to win the next election. In the 111th congress the Democratic Party had large majorities along with the white house.
    “Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), who succeeded now White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel in the lower chamber, told The Hill, “I can’t even get a hearing [on gun control issues].”

    He added, “I’m not blaming the Republicans. I’m blaming [Democratic] leadership and the administration. They’re in charge. … It’s a question of priorities.””

    http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/115953-despite-promises-obama-dem-congress-have-been-gun-friendly

    I would disagree with Rep Quigley on one point, it isn’t about priorities it is about strategy.

  7. Why not everyone look in the mirror before judging others. We are all humans. Highest creatures in the animal kingdom. But unlike lower animals we have two natures to choose to follow. Regardless natural law on earth is survival of the fittest. If you don’t pay attention, or are weak you won’t survive. Nature provided every species a means of self defense to survive. In the human realm Sigmund Freud said that self disciplined individuals attain their highest potential. These people create great communities and nations. When this mentality declines so does the society. That’s why most historians agree that civilization centers on religious discipline…or its higher than animal mentality. Our present national and world problems are moral, as always.

    • Ben Emery says:

      Bonnie,
      I think you have misread much of what you wrote in this comment. Survival of the most adaptive is how it works not the strong or any other of that bs. Morality is a human invention that I try to subscribe to on a daily level. When profit/ excess trumps humanity the world is in a dangerous place.

  8. jeffpelline says:

    Bonnie,
    When was the last time you looked in the mirror? With your daughter Sue running for Supervisor, though she was unqualified? With your promotion of the logging industry, which is “yesterday’s lettuce”? Please advise.

  9. jeffpelline says:

    Sue ran for office based on an ideology, and some of her political views were quite extreme. She has been an officer of the Nevada County Tea Party Patroits. County Supervisor is supposed to be a non-partisan office, helping to manage the County budget. The majority of the people in District 1 do not hold tea party views. Being a lawyer (including Sue’s tenure in the DA’s office) does not necessarily translate into being a good county supervisor. BTW, what undergraduate school did Sue attend? It is not mentioned here: http://members.calbar.ca.gov/fal/Member/Detail/155041 I never got the full picture on Sue’s resume.

    As for logging, it no longer can support the community as it once did. We’ve got to embrace other strategies as well. These are the facts: http://www.mynevadacounty.com/nc/cda/agcomm/docs/2014%20Crop%20Report.pdf (The gross value of timber in our County is now about the same as “fruit and nut” crops).
    The “educational elite” (as you put it sarcastically) helped create Silicon Valley, which generates a lot of job growth. As a longtime business writer for the San Francisco Chronicle, I’ve covered it all: from forest products (Crown Zellerbach, Potlatch, Pacific Lumber, etc.) to Silicon Valley startups.
    Looking around here, I’m pretty certain we need to come up with a diversified economic plan that it more based on the future than the past.

  10. Jeff, we were in the trucking business for over 40 years hauling all over America the commodities people need. Produce, automobiles, equipment, lumber, logs….and dirt, or whatever working on dams. When our Judicial system started to show corruption we decided to change professions.
    http://www.mcguiresplace.net/Modern%20Day%20Highwaymen%201 This is our story published in a local newsletter by a former Grass Valley Mayors daughter-in-law.
    We purchased a portable sawmill, learned how and went into custom lumber milling. It was a wonderful experience helping very interesting, creative people.
    http://www.mcguiresplace.net/The%20Cutting%20Edge

    By the way…the excuse used to shut down the timber industry was to save the spotted owl. After all was said and done it turned out a larger owl was eating them. That’s why Fish n Game is now killing the bigger owls. …and the beat goes on and on.

  11. jeffpelline says:

    Bonnie,
    Global competition has harmed the local lumber business far more than the spotted owl. You need to stop blaming regulators. Another problem is business owners who aren’t nimble enough to adopt to change.

  12. Jeff, the spotted owl was the simple excuse used in the beginning. Too funny how the FG supposedly counted them that was an interview on our local radio station. The FB gal hooted like the owl and when one answered it was counted. Unbelievable it continued on and on. I laughed and wondered if the same owl was following them around. http://www.mcguiresplace.net/The%20Renegade
    Yes there’s a funny side to everything.
    Moving on through the years proved the attacks on timber, trucking, mining, farming and all facets of our economy was indeed for our merging global government and its economy. Watched and studied it from the onset and wondered. We used to muse what would happen if you equally divided everything to everyone. It was obvious that before long some would have a lot and others wouldn’t have anything because of what they do. A social worker explained this to a neighbor who had received a monetary legal settlement. The SW said she was lucky to still have the money instead of blowing it on drugs like most she’d felt with.
    When former Pres Bush informed us we were going into our new Global Government most people were shocked and I think that’s why he wasn’t re-elected. He said it wouldn’t be communist nor capitalism. I always wondered why he didn’t mention National Socialism, because that seems to be more like what’s happening. Anyway whatever happens will be according to the motives and means used to accomplish the goal….Meanwhile it’s been quite an educational trip down life’s highway.

  13. …And maybe beyond Bruce….more darned fun when you don’t limit your mind and experiences. http://www.mcguiresplace.net/A%20Mind%20Blowing%20Experience

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